The American Dialect Society has voted because as the Word of the Year owing to its increased use in phrases such as "because happy," "because sad," and "because bored." Since it takes an object, it might be thought of as a preposition, but (as in the third example) it sometimes takes a participle or an adjective, can we really call it a preposition? I need to know because curiosity.

  • 3
    Why can't they just speak proper English?
    – WS2
    Jan 6, 2014 at 15:16
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    Geoffrey Pullum has a comprehensive piece on it here: languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=9494. ‘Contrary to all the dictionaries, it is a preposition.’ Jan 6, 2014 at 15:29
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    The new because has an overlapping distribution with being :'Because happy, gave $20 to charity' <==> 'Being happy, gave $20 to charity'. 'Being' in this type of construction also connotes at least partial causality. I realise this is contrary to the Pope's opinion. As MOS and WS2 imply, ellipses give rise to weird conclusions if the strange new usages have a classical analysis forced upon them. And there is often more than one possible analysis that can be forced upon them. – Jan 6, 2014 at 16:09
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    @WS2 "Why can't they just speak proper English?". Seriously? "Proper" English is the current usage, and this is a popular expression. How is that not proper?
    – ianjs
    Jan 8, 2014 at 7:11
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    @ws2 You need to get out more; I see this usage all over the web. And as far as the OED is concerned, yes there will be a threshold beyond which they will feel obliged to include a new word because they recognise that languages are fluid and evolve over time.
    – ianjs
    May 10, 2014 at 9:42

4 Answers 4


Because' has become a preposition, because grammar.

The word "because," in standard English usage, is a subordinating conjunction, which means that it connects two parts of a sentence in which one (the subordinate) explains the other. In that capacity, "because" has two distinct forms. It can be followed either by a finite clause (I'm reading this because [I saw it on the web]) or by a prepositional phrase (I'm reading this because [of the web]). These two forms are, traditionally, the only ones to which "because" lends itself.

Read more:



First of all, I don't see any object in your examples. In any of these because is followed by an adjective: happy, sad, bored.

Furthermore, you should rather think of it being an ellipse as mentioned in comments.

I don't go to the party, because (I am) tired. [or ...because of being tired]
I trust him, because (he is) honest.

Then, of course there are use cases where the verb being dropped is not to be; and because is indeed followed by something not being an adjective but by a noun. This noun may indeed be an object in a non-shortened version.

I hate it because reasons.

You can consider this an ellipse of, for example:

I hate it because of several reasons (...that I don't want to mention, because too many).
I hate it because there are many reasons that ...

So, because is actually used as because of and because of because of being a preposition, the 'new' because is also (and still) a preposition... because period.


We know the preposition "because" can take a NP, a PP with 'of', or a clause as its complement.

I won't go there because I am tired. (Clause as complement)

The part "I am" can be omitted. After ellipsis, we can say:

I won't go there, because tired.

Therefore, because can be followed by an adjective, such as 'happy', 'sad', 'bored', 'tired' etc.

I won't go there, because tired.

Here, it is understood as "because I am tired".

  • You state this as a static fact when it is a dynamic situation. 'Because of NOUN' is a well-established idiom. 'Because NOUN' is a very new phenomenon and is very much still non-standard. It sounds very slangy and would not be allowed by editors in formal speech or writing (news broadcasts or newspapers). As of 2022, it has not caught on more than rare bon mot.
    – Mitch
    Jan 28, 2022 at 21:21

In homage to the aphoristic spirit of the American Midwest:

Because needs fixed.

(you may take that either way.)

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